The State of North Carolina
, though never deliberately and intelligently hostile to the Union
, became a much easier prey to the conspirators.
Her Democratic Legislature — reconvened at Raleigh
, November 19th, 1860--had refused, a month later, to pass a bill to arm the State
, though visited and entreated to that end by Hon. Jacob Thompson
, then a member of Mr. Buchanan
's Cabinet; and had adjourned1
without even calling a Convention.
This, as we have seen, did not prevent Gov. Ellis
taking military possession of the Federal
forts near Beaufort
(January 2d), on the pretext that, if he
did not do it, a mob would!
He proceeded to reconvene the Legislature in extra session, and to worry it into calling a Convention; for which, an election was duly held.2
But the act making this call provided that the people, when electing delegates, might vote that the Convention
should or should not meet.
They profited by the gracious permission, and, while electing a Union Convention by an immense majority, voted — to guard against accidents — that the Convention
meet: their vote — quite a heavy one--standing: For
holding, 46,672; Against
holding, 47,323: majority for No Convention, 651.
This vote temporarily checked all open, aggressive movements in the interest of Disunion, but did not arrest nor diminish the efforts of its champions.
On the contrary, a great State Rights Convention was assembled at Raleigh
on the 22d of March, and largely attended by leading Disunionists from South Carolina
, and other States.
Its spirit and its demonstrations left no doubt of the fixed resolve of the master-spirits to take their State out of the Union
, even in defiance of a majority of her voters.
But they concluded to await the opportunity which South Carolina
This opportunity was the taking of Fort Sumter
; when Gov. Ellis
proceeded to seize the U. S. Branch Mint at Charlotte3
and the Federal Arsenal
to call an extra session of the Legislature.
This session commenced May 1st, and in a few days thereafter resulted in the passage of the following:
Whereas, By an unwarranted and unprecedented usurpation of power by the Administration at Washington City, the Government of the United States of America has been subverted; and whereas, the honor, dignity, and welfare, of the people of North Carolina imperatively demand that they should resist, at all hazards, such usurpation; and whereas, there is an actual state of revolution existing in North Carolina, and our sister State of Virginia, making common cause with us, is threatened with invasion by the said Administration; now, therefore,
Resolved, That his Excellency, the Governor, be authorized to tender to Virginia, or to the Government of the Confederate States, such portion of our volunteer forces now, or that may be hereafter, under his command, as may not be necessary for the immediate defense of North Carolina.
The Legislature proceeded at once to call a Convention; delegates to be elected on the 13th, and the Convention
to assemble on the 20th.
On that day, the Convention
assembled — having been elected under the influence of the Fort Sumter
effervescence and of such assertions as are contained in the preamble just quoted.
Mr. Thomas L. Clingman
, late of the U. S. Senate, having been delegated by the Legislature to the Confederate Congress at Montgomery
, on the 14th, submitted to that body the following: